The Red Sox are feeling the loss of Sandy Leon early in 2019
The Boston Red Sox marched into Seattle ready to make a statement for 2019. Sadly it appears as if their pitchers didn’t get the memo.
Just days before the season kicked off the Red Sox opted to place veteran catcher Sandy Leon onto waivers. This came as a bit of a shock as Boston had re-signed Chris Sale just days before and Leon is the favored catcher of the ace. It was clear that Boston needed to make a move on one of their three catchers but it was a surprise that the target landed on Sandy Leon.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
As Opening Day got closer there were whispers that the Red Sox had been listening to offers for Leon in an attempt to open a roster spot. Many felt it could be the inexperienced Blake Swihart or the expensive Christian Vazquez that would see their exit from Boston. With the Red Sox three games into the season and their pitchers getting beaten up left, right, and center, was moving Leon the right call?
It’s still incredibly early in the season so there’s no reason to break the glass and hit the panic button but it is shocking to see the Red Sox pitching staff so ineffective. That’s what has me worried. If it were one bad start or just a single pitcher with a bad outing I wouldn’t blink an eye but every pitcher that the Red Sox have set on the mound have had poor showings.
The most shocking being starters Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi, both came in with high expectations and failed miserably. Eduardo Rodriguez wasn’t stellar in his start but fared better than both Eovaldi and Sale. Three games into the season and the Red Sox starting rotation has ERA’s of 21.00, 10.80, and 10.38 for Sale, Eovaldi, and Rodriguez respectively. The relievers haven’t had much luck either and at this point, we have to look at the catchers.
Vazquez caught the first two games with Swihart getting the start in last night’s affair in Seattle. Neither Vazquez or Swihart have been able to truly manage the game and take control much like Leon has done in the past. With Vazquez, it may come down to just not being able to take over when the moment calls on him. Swihart simply doesn’t have the experience to be a game manager, which isn’t his fault and will come with more reps behind the plate.
This is something that can be corrected and the bleeding can get stopped early. With the final game in Seattle just hours away and 7 more stops on this road trip, the Red Sox can turn things around right away. Alex Cora needs to sit with his catchers and pitching staff and get everyone on the same page. That’s the only way that the team can get back to their proper form. This very well may also be a negative reaction to waiting so long to get the starting rotation some work in spring training.
My instant reaction if you haven’t picked up on it yet is that the team should’ve kept Leon and moved one of their other catchers. Nothing against Vazquez or Swihart as I’m a fan of both but Sandy brings a veteran calm behind the plate that can keep a game in control. The argument against Leon is his batting ability as both Vazquez and Swihart offer better offensive efforts.
But good catchers aren’t paid for their offensive stats, it’s about what they do with their pitching staff. Just look at Red Sox legend Jason Varitek, never something to write home about at the plate but what he did behind it is why he was so revered by his staff and peers. Leon carries a similar weight with this current pitching staff and was an asset that should have been curated.
The season is still very very young and there is plenty of time for the Red Sox to get the train back on the tracks. If they want to do so though they need to do it soon as baseball is a game of trends. One bad game can be forgotten but we’ve seen bad games turn to bad weeks turn to bad months. If Boston wants to raise another banner for 2019, they need to get the pitching where it needs to be and that starts with the catchers.